Mario Batali tweets on corkage...

@joeszeles: @Mariobatali what’s up with the $50 corkage fee @ B& B. Outrageous!

@MarioBatali: we sell wine. Would you bring a steak??

An old, silly argument. That might be valid as a justification for not allowing corkage altogether. But in this case he allows it - for $50. Presumably there is no similar steakage fee. So he recognizes that there is a material difference between a bottle of wine and a steak.

The other reason this argument is silly is that there are actually quite a lot of restaurants where I wouldn’t mind supplying my own meat and seeing what the chef could do with it.

They also cheat their servers out of gratuities, IIRC.

$50 of pure margin – if he can do it, why not?

What do similarly classed places charge?

F&*k him, and his greed

Personally, he can charge whatever he wants for corkage. It’s his restaurant so he can do what he wants. However, $50 appears to me say to his patrons, I really don’t want to allow it, but if you must here it is. I would prefer he just not allow it or at least be more reasonable. YMMV just my $.02

I don’t see anything wrong with $50 corkage. I rather drink wines from my cellar that I know were kept well and pay premium than buy them of the list and know nothing about their past. To each his own.

As several have said, the concept of corkage does not have anything to do with bringing or not bringing your own steak. One might(?) use this as an argument for banning corkage altogether, but the fact is that Batali-Bably is allowing BYO. So the question becomes, what service does the restaurant provide to justify that $50 charge??

Oh, that’s right. It is for the lost revenue, since they were unable to sell you a dramatically overpriced wine…

Per their website, the B&B Ristorante in Las Vegas has the 99 Flaccianello on the list for $280. I don’t know that a $50 corkage fee is any “worse” than that kind of restaurant wine list pricing.


His reply is more troublesome to me than the (high) corkage fee. Sounds rather defensive, if you ask me.

Indeed he comes off as a douche.

$50 seems like a reasonable charge - replaces the profit he expects if you order off the list. Insofar as its an issue of “fairness”, that seems eminently fair to me. You get to drink what you want, and he doesn’t lose money, on average, by allowing people to bring in their own bottles.

Not to me

Ignoring his unclassy irreverence, I agree with Mario’s policy. At a restaurant of this level, $50 is probably an accurate estimate of lost beverages margin for 4-6 glasses of something. This is no more obnoxious than charging $19 for a glass of Bollinger Special, as I’m sure he also does (or something similar).

The bigger issue is why we as wine lovers continue to pay absurd markups for wine list wines, effectively subsidizing restaurants that can’t turn a profit off of their food. I’m not saying Mario’s restaurants are in that category, but it’s a widespread problem.

I don’t think the corkage is too high.

As an aside, not only have I brought my own glasses to restaurants, but I have also brought the following:


…if every table could be counted on to buy a bottle of wine which is obviously ridiculous. As Keith said he is acknowledging the difference and choosing to take an obscene profit off of it. If it was that important to him he could simply say corkage is not allowed.


I will say that the $50 doesn’t trouble me, but the public cursory response does.

I wonder how long before someone from his PR company calls him about this?

Not sure they will . . . .seems to me this might go along with his persona.

I can see both points of view here, and agree that regardless of whether you feel this is ‘fair’ or not, his reply really sucked. I understand the general concept of what he’s saying, and he, along with other high end restaurateurs, probably get fed up with folks not buying off their wine list . . . but this attitude and pricing could certainly backfire as well. Have not seen his list, but if prices are so radically high, he’s bound to lose some folks altogether, and others simply will choose to not drink wine at all.

Just my $.02 . . .

But this seems to be a self-reinforcing policy. As the restaurant prices for wine continue to go up, with huge markups, then the lost revenue goes up as well. I guess the real crunch comes when the markup goes so astronomically high that people quit buying the wines on the list (which is pretty much happening these days).